The day after Thanksgiving, known as “Black Friday”, is perhaps the most iconic and celebrated shopping day of the year. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Holiday Survival Kit REV, 2013 saw more than 141 million shoppers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Thursday through Sunday), with the average shopper spending about $407. Black Friday alone saw more than 92 million online and in-store shoppers – that’s roughly one out-of-every three Americans. In total, consumers spent approximately $57.4 billion during last year’s holiday weekend.

This year, the pandemonium that is Black Friday will ensue on November 28, and with it an all-too-familiar scene of shoppers attempting to stay warm as they wait in line for hours, just for a chance to grab a bargain. There’s an ongoing quip about the absurdity of the day that goes something along the lines of: “Black Friday: the day you’re twice as likely to end up in hospital.” Unfortunately, there’s some truth that can be found in that quip.

From 2006 through 2013, the mayhem of Black Friday has left in its wake 90 individuals having sustained injuries and 7 deaths, per Accordingly, crowd management and safety is a legitimate cause-for-concern among shoppers and retailers, alike. In 2009, OSHA issued “Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers” after the tragic 2008 incident where a Wal-Mart employee in Long Island, New York, was trampled to death after Black Friday shoppers stampeded the store as it initially opened.
In Massachusetts, all retailers have a responsibility to keep their premises in a safe condition free from known hazards that might cause injury to shoppers, including injuries that can be attributed to poor planning, crowd mismanagement, and inadequate security. A retailer may be legally responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on its property depending on the particular facts and circumstances. Injuries sustained by shoppers on Black Friday may be attributed to crowd management insufficiencies, and if so the injured shopper may have a claim against the retailer for failing to provide a safe premises. While Black Friday poses the opportunity for shoppers to get their hands on all sorts of bargains, it also poses the opportunity for serious bodily injuries and even death.
SUGARMAN has a team of dedicated personal injury attorneys who represent those who have been injured. If you have been hurt in an accident and wish to speak to one of our attorneys regarding liability, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000 or e-mail